Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cabbages, winter 2008

We had a good year for cabbage. Or maybe not, depending on your point of view of cabbage. As I believe I mentioned in an earlier post, I planted 6 green cabbages and 6 red cabbages this year. I don't remember the exact dates, but I planted the green ones quite a bit later than the red ones last fall/winter.

The red cabbage was wonderful. It all formed beautiful purplish, mottled heads, and after I realized that it would grow small side heads after cutting the main one, like broccoli, I was careful to leave enough of the plant for this to occur. We actually still have these mini-heads in our fridge, but I'm not sure we'll get around to eating them - they may be headed for the compost pile.

I had read about cabbage heads cracking, but never experienced it until this spring, when it happened. I wondered what it would look like - would it be difficult to see the crack, so that you wouldn't notice until it was too late, and the head was rotting fromt he inside out? I carefully inspected my cabbage every time I went to the garden just in case. Then one day it happened - the last red cabbage had cracked wide open, like a flower bud blooming. It was definitely obvious, beautiful, alarming. I harvested the cabbage immediately and we made some delicious buttermilk cole slaw (with the buttermilk from my home-made butter campaign).

The green cabbage didn't do as well. I thought it was forming heads, and we did get one really beautiful head (which I gave to my mother), but when I checked the other heads later, I realized that the heads weren't solid - they were just large leaves, somewhat tightly wrapped. The tightest one we took home and made more cole slaw. The others went into the compost. I think the lesson learned is to plant cabbage a bit earlier in the fall - the problem is that my garden isn't big enough - I have to wait until the summer/fall plants are done before I can plant the winter garden. The obvious solution - I need another garden!

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